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Friday, December 16, 2005

CD REVIEW - The Film Music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold

The Film Music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Rumon Gamba
Chandos Movies CHAN 10336
18 Tracks 76:22 mins

Here we have another excellent recording from Chandos in their Movies series, and unusually it's Hollywood film music that's on the menu this time, with the premiere complete recording of Korngold's score from 1941's The Sea Wolf, which starred Edward G. Robinson in one of his greatest performances, Alexander Knox, Ida Lupino and John Garfield.
Korngold is best loved for his operatic sweep and wonderfully melodic soundtracks to favourites such as The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Sea Hawk. The Sea Wolf is a much different animal, but in fact more akin to the operas he composed, in that it is a dark and turbulent score which, whilst it does have romantic touches, is largely a much more challenging listen than most of his film scores. There is much mystery and suspense, with a little conflict, and barely anything truly melodic to latch onto. In fact the bonus track "Trailer for 'The Sea Wolf'" features much of the film's thematic material and would probably be enough for some. However, as a taster for Korngold's operatic output, this might give you a good idea of what to expect - minus the voices of course.
After the 55 minutes of The Sea Wolf, Gamba gives us something of an antidote in the form of another recording of the suite from The Adventures of Robin Hood, with it's stirring battle music and beautiful love theme.
President of the Korngold Society and Korngold biographer, Brendan G.Carroll, provides the accompanying booklet notes, which are given in English, German and French.


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